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Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television

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Female action heroes, like other fictional characters, not only reveal a lot about society, but greatly influence individuals in society. It is no surprise that the gradual development and increase in the number of female action heroes coincides with societal changes and social movements, such as feminism. Nor is it a surprise that characteristics of female action heroes Female action heroes, like other fictional characters, not only reveal a lot about society, but greatly influence individuals in society. It is no surprise that the gradual development and increase in the number of female action heroes coincides with societal changes and social movements, such as feminism. Nor is it a surprise that characteristics of female action heroes echo the progressive toughening of women and young girls in the media. Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television brings to the forefront the historical representation of women and girls in film, television, comic books, and video games. The book includes profiles of 25 of the most popular female action heroes, arranged in alphabetical order for easy reference. Each chapter includes sections on the hero's origins, her power suit, weapons, abilities, and the villains with whom she grapples. Most significantly, each profile offers an analysis of the hero's story--and her impact on popular culture.


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Female action heroes, like other fictional characters, not only reveal a lot about society, but greatly influence individuals in society. It is no surprise that the gradual development and increase in the number of female action heroes coincides with societal changes and social movements, such as feminism. Nor is it a surprise that characteristics of female action heroes Female action heroes, like other fictional characters, not only reveal a lot about society, but greatly influence individuals in society. It is no surprise that the gradual development and increase in the number of female action heroes coincides with societal changes and social movements, such as feminism. Nor is it a surprise that characteristics of female action heroes echo the progressive toughening of women and young girls in the media. Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television brings to the forefront the historical representation of women and girls in film, television, comic books, and video games. The book includes profiles of 25 of the most popular female action heroes, arranged in alphabetical order for easy reference. Each chapter includes sections on the hero's origins, her power suit, weapons, abilities, and the villains with whom she grapples. Most significantly, each profile offers an analysis of the hero's story--and her impact on popular culture.

38 review for Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    I would say this book is a very useful primer on female characters in action roles. It spans a pretty wide range, time-wise, and helped me put characters in a historical context in a way that I hadn't before. It also addresses feminist issues in a way that's easy for readers to understand, even if they don't have a strong background in feminism. Unfortunately, this means that certain concepts tend to be oversimplified to the point of incorrectness, especially with regards to racism and the Civil I would say this book is a very useful primer on female characters in action roles. It spans a pretty wide range, time-wise, and helped me put characters in a historical context in a way that I hadn't before. It also addresses feminist issues in a way that's easy for readers to understand, even if they don't have a strong background in feminism. Unfortunately, this means that certain concepts tend to be oversimplified to the point of incorrectness, especially with regards to racism and the Civil Rights movement. Also, the writing can be pretty clunky, and the "Origins" section for each character rapidly gets repetitive as it references other parts of the book. Overall: good book with useful information, but know when to skim and when to look up more info.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    I loved the idea of this book--the bringing together in one volume of an impressive number of female badasses. Its execution, however, leaves much to be desired. Poor organization, lackluster writing, and errors of fact undermine its authority. Nevertheless, having these heroes gathered does give food for thought, as certain themes emerge, even if they are largely unexplored by the text. The themes revolve around questions of gender and gender performance, and how they evolved. Some included in I loved the idea of this book--the bringing together in one volume of an impressive number of female badasses. Its execution, however, leaves much to be desired. Poor organization, lackluster writing, and errors of fact undermine its authority. Nevertheless, having these heroes gathered does give food for thought, as certain themes emerge, even if they are largely unexplored by the text. The themes revolve around questions of gender and gender performance, and how they evolved. Some included in the volume became heroes in roles originally written as male, like Ellen Ripley in the alien films. The writers changed the role to female by altering her first name and the pronouns, a move similar to FemShep's treatment in Mass Effect (not included in the volume). Changing only pronouns implies that gender plays an insignificant role in experience and behavior. This begs the question of whether male is being taken as the norm, in a move of gender imperialism, or if a "universal human" response is being described--through aggressive responses to threats. Another way of saying this is that some in the volume became heroes for transgressing gender roles. Where Joan of Arc, one of the few not entirely fictional heroes included, is eventually killed for doing so, others are rewarded in various dubious ways for it. Sarah Connor achieves the survival of her son, and through him, hopefully the human race. GI Jane gets to fight in the US Army. Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets to kill instead of be killed in horror scenarios. Instead of proving empowering, the collection depresses. Even the best heroes in the volume seem to profit men more than themselves. Some get their start as sidekicks to males--The Bionic Woman from The Six Million Dollar Man and Xena from Hercules. They gain their own series as a result of their popularity and the producers' desire to cash in on it. But it seems most were created for male gratification. Wonder Woman, supposedly designed to anticipate and celebrate the coming dominance of women in US society by a male feminist, William Moulton Marston, seems to have been actually based on Olive, the live-in focus of Marston's "progressive" (it was the 1940s) polyamory, and to have relied on female bondage for some of its marketability. Lara Croft combines smarts and violence, an improbable set of body measurements and terribly impractical but revealing clothing for the profit of her male creators. The heroes in the volume, with few exceptions, are dressed primarily for satisfying a consuming gaze. As a reader, and a woman, I was left with questions about what truly constitutes the heroic and the authentic possibilities for women to take leading roles, whatever wave of feminism we're calling it now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  4. 5 out of 5

    Camila

  5. 4 out of 5

    Simeon Berry

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  7. 5 out of 5

    Teri

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zoid Poterack

  9. 5 out of 5

    Odette Cort├ęs

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cleo Summers

  11. 4 out of 5

    Olive

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sticks Phillips

  13. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kimathy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cagney

  16. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Vetterl

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Cash

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rob Mars

  19. 5 out of 5

    June

  20. 4 out of 5

    Siddartha

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ludwig

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Callie *Fights Censorship*

  25. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mycheill

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brianne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dawna Perry

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pavifather

  31. 4 out of 5

    Isamar

  32. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Lubin

  33. 4 out of 5

    Andi Sandler

  34. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Joy

  36. 5 out of 5

    Dark

  37. 4 out of 5

    Vinayak Malik

  38. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Mary

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